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If you’ve never fished before, it’s essential to learn how to cast a fishing rod. As the most important part of having a successful fishing trip, an insufficient cast will only make the experience less enjoyable. 

How to Cast a Fishing Rod 

Casting isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and instead, many people have different methods they prefer. With the help of our professional tips, you can master five different ways to cast depending on water conditions, where you are located, and the type of fish you want to catch. 

1. Overhead Cast 

Overhead casts are highly recommended for when you want to achieve maximum distance to send your lure further. You’ll also find that this particular method will give you superior accuracy, as you can keep your eyes on where the lure will fall. We highly recommend beginners to try mastering the overhead cast first, as it’s one of the more common casting techniques. 

The following steps are recommended for achieving the perfect overhead cast: 

  1. Holding the button on the bait casting reel with your thumb, bring your rod back behind you. 
  2. In one fluid motion, bring the rod in front of you and release your thumb. By releasing the button, the weight of the bait will force the line to drag out. 
  3. Using your thumb again, push the button on the bait casting reel a second time. This will slow down your spool so that you don’t have to deal with backlash and tangles in your line. 

2. Shooting 

Shooting is a type of casting primarily used by people who fish off the side of docks. You’ll also find that it’s very useful when used in brush piles and will appear most commonly when fishing crappies. However, professionals also like to use this method for catching bass. 

Much like its name suggests, shooting is ideal for when you need to achieve maximum speed when fishing. It’s one of the more difficult techniques to master, especially for beginners. 

  1. First, you’ll want to lower your lure so that it hangs halfway between your reel and your rod tip. 
  2. For spinning reels, open your bail. This is the area where the thin wire part of the reel will be flipped from one side of the rod to the other. Using your dominant hand, hold the line and you can use your non-dominant hand to grab hold of the lure. 
  3. At this point, you can pull the lure towards your chest by drawing the tip of your rod downwards. Depending on your experience level, it might be simpler to hold the rod of your shoulder, similar to a rifle. 
  4. Aiming directly down your rod, release the lure and point straight down your rod with your non-dominant hand (lure-holding hand). Your line should then come off of the spool and propel forward. 

3. Flipping 

You’ll find that flipping is preferred over pitching, especially if you’re looking for speed, but it gives you the least distance out of most casting techniques. Beginners will love this approach when working around shallow water or lakes that have a heavy amount of vegetation and timber. It’s particularly beneficial for casting into weed mats. 

  1. You’ll first want to pull out enough slack line which you think will help your lure reach your target area. You can keep your thumb on your spool once you have enough slack or keep the reel engaged. 
  2. Begin to swing out the lure and let it go with the slack line. During this process, don’t take your thumb off your spool. 
  3. To attract fish in the area, jiggle the line for a couple of minutes in the same spot. If you find that nothing is biting, all you have to do is pull the slack line out of the water and redo steps one and two to recast to another spot. 

4. Pitching 

As mentioned, pitching is relatively similar to flipping and is highly recommended for what is known as “finesse fishing”. If you’re targeting fish in your immediate area, this is one of the better casting methods on this list to turn to. Ideally, it should be used in situations that are 10 yards at most, if not closer. 

  1. Hold your rod straight up and let enough line out of the spool so that the lure reaches your reel. 
  2. Holding the button on your reel with your thumb, make sure the spool is held steady. Using your non-dominant hand, grab onto the lure, but make sure you pay close attention to the hook as you don’t want to get snagged. 
  3. Lower the tip of your rod while bringing the lure back. This should be done while you are keeping the line taut. 
  4. Raise the rod tip in one giant swoop, allowing the lure to be pulled out of your other hand. This motion will automatically drop the lure wherever the tip of your rod is pointing. 

5. Sidearm Cast 

Even though it would be nice to fish on days when there isn’t any wind, that’s highly unlikely. In addition, plenty of people prefer to fish in windy conditions once they have mastered the sidearm cast. As you will want to keep your lure low in these conditions, you can avoid throwing your lure around everywhere with a sidearm motion. 

  1. The first motion is to bring the rod back to your side. You’ll also want to hold the button on your reel with your thumb. 
  2. Using a giant side swooping motion, snap your wrist forward and release the button on your reel, which will, in turn, release the line. Ideally, your lure will land wherever the tip of your rod is pointing. For beginners, it’s recommended you practice this casting technique away from others. 

Final Thoughts 

As you begin to learn how to cast a fishing rod, you’ll learn what your favorite casting techniques are. You may find that you only master one or two of these movements, especially if you fish in the same general area throughout the year. Nevertheless, there are plenty of motions for you to choose from to find the most comfortable one for your fishing style. 

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